How to stop fabric pilling

Written by allison melman
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Nothing makes fabric look worse than pilling. Pilling is what looks like little tufts of fluff on material after it is used a lot or washed improperly. Some material is more prone to pilling than others, but it can happen to almost every fabric after wear and cleaning. There are ways of prolonging the good looks of your furniture, clothing and accessories.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cold-water delicate detergent
  • Clothes rack
  • Large absorbent towel
  • Mesh washing bag
  • Fabric shaver or electric piller
  • Knit picker

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  1. 1

    Hand-wash all sweaters and delicate clothing with a delicate washing powder made for cold water.

  2. 2

    Lay the item across a clothes-drying rack with a flat top. Gently squeeze out excess water and do not wring.

  3. 3

    Wrap larger items such as sweaters or area rugs in a towel and squeeze the towel around them to remove excess water.

  4. 4

    Machine-wash all machine washables that are made of material that can pill by turning them inside-out and putting them in a mesh washing bag. Use cold water on a delicate cycle and lay flat to dry.

  5. 5

    Use a fabric shaver to remove any spots that have pilled already, and if the fabric is a loose knit such as a fisherman's sweater, use a knit picker to push back the knitted yarn.

  6. 6

    Avoid storing with hangers. Lay the clothing flat and put into clothing storage bags. Air out all sweaters and woollen items every few months if they have not been worn.

Tips and warnings

  • Wash washable clothing on delicate cycles with cold water and air dry.
  • Always read the care instructions before washing or dry-cleaning any clothing.

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